Front suspension maintenance and rear spring conversion options (1 Viewer)

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Mar 18, 2016
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I have a 2009 GX with 150k+ miles. I'm getting CV Axles replaced next week with CARDONE SELECT 665235HD from RockAuto. Last time I went to the mechanic, he showed that one of my boot was leaking, so I thought I should replace the whole assembly on both sides now since I'm very proactive when it comes to preventive maintenance.

The other problem I've been experiencing for a while now is that the ride on uneven road surfaces is not smooth because the car is not absorbing the bumps and the back seats shake/vibrate too which also adds noise. I feel that the front wheels also seem to shake a bit when driving on uneven surfaces, but I'm not sure if that is actually happening. So far, at 130k miles I had only replaced the front and rear shocks with Bilstein 5100 and the rest is all original. Both shocks are adjustable, but I left the rear in default settings and moved the front to 1st level up to give car a nice even stance without any rake effect. I didn't really feel much difference in terms of comfort when I changed the shocks, and I thought maybe I didn't make the best choice so I lived with it. Are there any other wear & tear items in the front suspension/axle that you think I should also replace at this time while I'm getting the axles replaced that may improve the ride quality and less bumps? ex. tie rod ends, etc...

I'm also going to have the mechanic check the back suspension because I think it is also affecting the ride quality/comfort. Most likely the airbags have gone bad because last time he mentioned that there was a small crack in one of them. The car's back is leveled fine while standing or running, but I heard some noise from the suspension last week when my wife was pulling in on a rough surface. To offset the cost associated with airbag system, I'm considering going with coil conversion without any lift since I'm not going to do any off-roading. Based on the reviews I've read here and other GX forum (CL), it seems there are some good options available such as SSO, Strutmasters, Metal Tech or Arnott. Everyone here has different opinion on these so there isn't any consensus which one is the best option to go with in terms of comfort - and I also prefer not to raise the rear to maintain a nice stance that my GX currently has. If there are any suggestions or pictures that you can post here with your conversion that would be great.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
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I ordered and received all the parts for a rear spring conversion:

1. MetalTech Spring Conversion Kit
2. Toyota rear spring isolators
3. OME Medium Rear Springs 2895E
4. OME Rear Shocks Sport N60004-2

I still have the OEM air bags in the rear and possibly original rear shocks. I'm going to replace the rear shocks first and see how it rides with the OEM air bags. My air bags were replaced a few years ago, so they look okay for now.

I will then determine how to proceed with the springs.

The PO did replace the front with Bilstein 6112 Coilovers for an FJCruiser. I think the kit was #46-227287 which has Bilstein shocks 24-227261 and 600 lbs coils #E4-FD1-Y005829. It rides nice an soft in the front for highway speeds and does fine offroad.

I did get advice in this forum that the airbags compensate for a driver-side lean. If you get springs on the rear, you might need to compensate with the rear driver-side lean by adding spacers. I'm not sure how much to compensate for since I haven't doen the conversion,
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
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SC
Dont replace your OEM CV axles, if the boots are torn just reboot them. Cardone axles are not good....
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
38
Location
MD
I ordered and received all the parts for a rear spring conversion:

1. MetalTech Spring Conversion Kit
2. Toyota rear spring isolators
3. OME Medium Rear Springs 2895E
4. OME Rear Shocks Sport N60004-2

I still have the OEM air bags in the rear and possibly original rear shocks. I'm going to replace the rear shocks first and see how it rides with the OEM air bags. My air bags were replaced a few years ago, so they look okay for now.

I will then determine how to proceed with the springs.

The PO did replace the front with Bilstein 6112 Coilovers for an FJCruiser. I think the kit was #46-227287 which has Bilstein shocks 24-227261 and 600 lbs coils #E4-FD1-Y005829. It rides nice an soft in the front for highway speeds and does fine offroad.

I did get advice in this forum that the airbags compensate for a driver-side lean. If you get springs on the rear, you might need to compensate with the rear driver-side lean by adding spacers. I'm not sure how much to compensate for since I haven't doen the conversion,

Thanks for the info. I think I've read that OME Springs and shock ride more firm than the OEM. Would be interesting to find out if Metal Tech conversion raises the back.
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
38
Location
MD
Dont replace your OEM CV axles, if the boots are torn just reboot them. Cardone axles are not good....

Oh really? I thought I might be doing a good thing replacing the whole axle after so many miles. Do you have any bad experience with Cardone?
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
38
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MD
I've already bought the Cardone axles and they are waiting to be put on. Now based on responses here, I'm confused and having second thoughts if replacing the original axle with this brand may cause bigger issues down the road. Since my knowledge is very limited to what I read on the GX forums, I need advice whether I should:
1. Go ahead and install the new Cardone axles. OR
2. Return these and get the better NAPA brand which someone suggested on another thread here. OR
3. Just replace the CV with Boot kit like ones Bluetribal suggested above

Please advise so I can act fast. Would like to get this taken care of this week if possible.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Messages
252
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Houston, TX
I'd like to know why the cardone axles are labeled as "not good". I put two cardone axles in our gx 5 years ago and have had no issues. I intend to reboot the OEM axles and have them ready to go whenever the cardones crap out but so far so good - YMMV.

On the front end issues - worn tie rods (inners and outers), ball joints, control arm bushings can contribute to the "shakes" you're experiencing. Have your mechanic check them out while he's replacing the CV axles.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
Messages
58
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SC
I put some Cardone ones on my 4runner. They would bind at full lock. I ended up returning them and rebooting my old OEM ones and it went well. The reboot kit is cheap. I figure as long as your OEM axles still have grease and they dont make any clicking noises they are still good. New OEM are way more expensive then cardone so i figure OEM is a way better product....
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
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Location
MD
I put some Cardone ones on my 4runner. They would bind at full lock. I ended up returning them and rebooting my old OEM ones and it went well. The reboot kit is cheap. I figure as long as your OEM axles still have grease and they dont make any clicking noises they are still good. New OEM are way more expensive then cardone so i figure OEM is a way better product....

I saw another post here by someone who experienced the same issue with Cardone. I think I'll just replace the boots and return the axles.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
1,768
Location
So Cal
Thanks for the info. I think I've read that OME Springs and shock ride more firm than the OEM. Would be interesting to find out if Metal Tech conversion raises the back.

My front Bilstein 6112 coilovers are on the highest setting, so I think I’m like 2.5” taller in the front. My rear airbags are tricked to be higher. So, my back is already raised like 1” and I hope the MT conversion kit and OME medium springs get me about 1” lift to maintain my current level-stance.
 

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